The Shadowy Status of Bike Share in San Diego Gets a Bit Clearer

There has been quite a bit of coverage in the local media recently regarding dockless bike-share systems. Companies such as LimeBike, Ofo, Spin, and others have shown interest in operating in San Diego and one, LimeBike, is currently operating in Imperial Beach y National City.  These new offerings join DecoBike in providing bike-share options to the public in San Diego County.  DecoBike operates in the City of San Diego and is a “traditional” bike share system with docks that bikes are checked into and out of.  The dockless systems differ in not having the docking stations that are a staple of many bike share programs.  This increase in the bike-share options in the region would seem to be a good thing, with more options and more bikes for users as well as competitive forces spurring operators to provide good value and offer incentives, upgrades, etc to stay relevant and win market share.  However, in the City of San Diego there is some disagreement about the nature of the relationship the city has with DecoBike and whether other bike-share operators will be welcomed or even allowed in the city.

Two good articles to check out about bike share systems and the DecoBike agreement with San Diego cover the issue from a variety of angles.  They’re well worth a read.

CityBeat (John Lamb) – Nov 21, 2017

Union-Tribune (David Garrick) – Dec 4, 2017

Today the DecoBike agreement and impact on future bike share programs may have gotten a bit clearer.  Below is a copy of a memo shared today on Twitter by City Councilmember David Alvarez that addresses the question of the exclusivity element of the agreement between San Diego and DecoBike.  As this issue is of interest to the BikeSD community we wanted to share it here so that others could access.  The memo appears to rebuke the notion that there is an exclusive ability for only one bike share program, DecoBike, to exist in San Diego.  The memo specifically mentions the Spin dockless system but would appear to generally support additional bike share operators.  We’re also including the DecoBike agreement in full at bottom for reference.

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”Exclusivity Memo – DecoBike and San Diego Agreement – 12-6-2017″]


Bike San Diego greatly appreciates the efforts that the City of San Diego and DecoBike have made in bringing bike-share to San Diego.  These systems have become key elements of urban transportation systems in cities across the globe.  However, as with many aspects of building a stronger cycling culture in San Diego the most needed ingredient for success is establishing a robust network of safe roads for biking.  On that count – the most important and base level necessity – our local and regional efforts continue to be delayed, half-measures, or isolated improvements that start or end without connecting to other good options in a cohesive system.  Without a robust network any bike initiative – bike share, increasing bicycle commute mode share, hitting Climate Action Plan targets, improving air quality – will have difficulty in being successful.

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The original agreement between DecoBike and City of San Diego can be found in full below:

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”Corporate Partnership Agreement – San Diego and Deco Bike – 8-14-2013″]